Women Opened Up About Why They Chose Child-Free Lives, And Their Reasons Are So, So Valid

Recently Reddit user Middle_External_2747 asked the women of the community, "When did you know you didn't want children?"

Woman and child in a serious conversation, seated indoors, possibly discussing child’s behavior or concerns
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Women weren't afraid to admit why they chose to have child-free lives, and how raising kids just wasn't in the cards for them.

Person sitting on a bed looking at a pregnancy test
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So, here are some women who've never wanted children in the picture:

Note: Not all submissions reflect a universal stance on motherhood. Every woman's experience is different.

1."I always knew. My mom was constantly tired, miserable, and snapping at others. I never want to make a child feel how I felt growing up — a constant burden. I also just don't want to have kids — I find that kids and the life that goes along with them is so boring. People say it's so fulfilling, but god, sitting around blowing bubbles or watching a kid trying to fit letters into a puzzle or something sounds as exciting as watching paint dry."


2."When I was around 7 years old, I was playing in my room when one of my mom's friends who had stopped by just plopped her baby on the floor with me. She just left the room. I looked at the baby for a moment squirming and starting to cry on the floor where she left them, and they just got up and left to go play outside. Next thing I know, my friend's mom is sprinting at me screaming her head off about me putting her baby in danger, leaving them alone like that when I was supposed to be watching and taking care of them!"

"She's tired and needs a break, and all little girls dream of being mothers — how dare I just abandon her baby and miss out on this very important opportunity to practice my mothering skills?"


Two children playing with toys on a sunny room floor
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3."At about 29, I had always wanted children. I'm about six years older than my younger sister, and we grew up with a single mom who just couldn't afford to be around too much. So by default, I became a babysitter/second mom at a young age. I loved 'having a baby,' and I still call my sister my baby to this day (even though we are both adults now and the age difference doesn't feel so significant). Once COVID hit, a lot of my friends started settling down and having kids, adopting dogs, whatever. I kind of went the opposite way and got super involved in activism and local politics, something that continued through the pandemic as I got a job working at a start-up heading their DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)."

"I did a lot of mutual aid through this, and I essentially came to the conclusion that damn, a lot of kids WITH PARENTS need a lot of help. What's the point in me personally becoming impregnated and giving birth when there are already so many kids who lack structure, love, and attention?

I guess another factor is that having COVID early on, when it was more severe, made me a person with a disability. It's not worth it for my health (that's not a driving reason for me, though)."


4."Being an auntie to numerous nephews and nieces (and babysitting fairly frequently to help keep the parents sane) was the final nail in the procreation coffin for me. I was already on the fence before then, but yeah...no. It's wonderful for many women (which is good, because we go extinct if that's not the case), but it's not for me."


5."I knew from my earliest memories because I would never even play with baby dolls. Family members would give them as gifts and I would immediately toss them aside without trying to open the box. My sister loved that because they all became hers. I refused to 'play the momma' as a small child. People would say things like, 'When you have kids...' and I always told them I won't have kids. I am now 44 and my desire to never have kids has not wavered for one second. Getting pregnant is still my absolute worst nightmare lol."


Child playing with dolls at a table, viewed from behind
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6."As a teenager who was able to process my parents' divorce, I realized I didn't want to raise a child if it happened to me. But also when my nieces and nephews were born, I realized they could solely depend on me to care for them for years. I saw how postpartum affected my sister and the struggles she went through. I became way more comfortable with wanting to be child-free once meeting my current boyfriend who also doesn't want children and said that it was okay not to want them 100%."


7."[I didn't want kids] since I was eight years old and witnessed my brother being born (then helping raise him). I'm all set — he's a teenager now, and I never want to do this again."


"Oh, man — this is the one. My sister is 15 years younger than me and is about to be in middle school. At some point, I had to physically leave my state to be free not of her, but of what was expected of me. I was gone for two years and now I'm back home. She's so grown now — I feel so out of touch."


8."[I knew] after 15 years of teaching primary school. Something between knowing just what a child needs to thrive and being single well into my thirties and still sofa surfing and moving about all the time. And throw in my worry about what the world will be like in 20 years (as well as my empathy levels). I think it's best I just try to keep myself above water and help others."


Adult covers face, two children with art supplies on table appear curious
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9."I never had the desire to have kids. Then as a teen, my parents had disabilities, and I cared for them for 10 years until their passing. I realized then that it might be selfish, but I don't want to take care of anyone but me. I'm with an amazing guy now, and I'm thankful he's letting the kids decision be 100% my decision so we will be kid-free. I love my nephews and my friend's kids, and one has asked me to step up if she and her husband die — and I'm okay with that."


10."Being conscious that my genetics suck, [that's when I realized I didn't want kids]. I also think it's egotistical to have them and pass on your genes and put their lives in danger. The number of people with diseases who can pass them down through MANY generations absolutely scares me. Why would I want to do that to my child potentially?????"

"And people like gambling way too much, thinking, 'Oh, it probably won't happen to us.' LIKE...YES IT FUCKING WILL. I'd rather end [any kind of life-threatening disease] with me."


Woman and child practicing yoga together indoors
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11."My youngest sibling was born when I was six years old. I remember holding them for the first time in the hospital and one of my mom's friends who was also visiting gushed that I was a natural, and would be a great mom one day. I remember thinking how weird it was for her to assume that. I've always been very clear that I wanted to be child-free. In 12th grade, I must have mentioned it during art class and my art teacher said he'd heard that before. He said girls who claimed that were usually the first to have kids. I looked him right in the eye and said, 'Well, not me.' Now I'm 44 and had a hysterectomy (for other medical reasons) and married a man who is also child-free and had a vasectomy. We're both very happy. No regrets."


12."Honestly, watching all of my parent friends get super screwed over during the COVID lockdown by the state, their jobs, and schools. My Danish cousins (who are a little older than me) have such a supportive environment to help them raise their kids. I often wonder if my decision would be different if I lived there."


13."When I was a kid, I never dreamed about getting married or having children like my friends. I knew in high school that I didn't want to have children for sure. When asked, 'Where will you be in 10 years?' other girls would say, 'Married with kids.' Instead, I would say, 'I'm not sure — hopefully traveling.' I was told over and over and over that I would change my mind — when I meet the right guy, when I'm older, when I'm settled down. Welp, I'm 46, met the right guy, married him, got pretty settled, and NEVER CHANGED MY MIND. I do make sure to travel internationally every couple of years. I love some of my friends' kids and I'm a good auntie. Spending time with them still only reaffirms my desire never to be a parent."


Man and woman laughing together beside a car on a sunny day, representing joyful parenting moments
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14."The thought never really appealed to me. As a kid, I thought it was an inevitable thing that everyone goes through eventually. I didn't have any child-free adults in my life growing up, so I had no idea it was an option. As I grew up, I realized on my own that I had a choice, and once I realized that, it felt like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulders."


15."I was seven years old and my mom was pregnant with twins. The pregnancy was horrific (especially with two newborns). I was horrified. I've hated children ever since — I'm 29 and I'm never, ever, EVER having them."


"All three of my sisters have kids and every single one of their pregnancies was horrific. Knowing that, I would never have kids now. I wouldn't be lucky enough to be the one out of four with an easy pregnancy and birth."


Newborn twins swaddled and sleeping side by side
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16."The idea of pregnancy and childbirth doesn't bring me any positive feelings or thoughts. I have numerous inherited conditions that my siblings didn't get. My husband also doesn't want any children, and we've agreed that if either of us changes our mind, we'll address it. Also, I love sleep too much."


17."Ann Landers was a famous columnist in the '70s. She once conducted an anonymous mail-in survey to her readers asking those who had children if they could do it over again, would they have kids? There was a huge response and 72% said no. I was floored and decided at that moment I would never have kids. I think I hadn't even reached puberty yet."


Expectant parent resting on a hospital bed, looking thoughtful
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18."I was on the fence about it until I was 23. Seeing my friends give up their time to raise children who give them so much grief made me really rethink it all. Now that I am 25, I can definitely say for sure that I do not want them. I value my life and the small luxuries too much."


"For sure — I'm 45 and happily child-free and starting to see my friend's kids become adolescents and college students. And, IMO, that's when the real grief of parenting happens (kids going through that phase of pushing their parents away or doing drugs or dangerous things).

I used to second-guess my decision not to have kids, but at this point, I’m really glad I didn't."


19.And finally, "I was in my mid-twenties — I always thought I would have kids and how I would raise them to be cool, passionate, kind adults with neat hobbies and exciting lives. Then I realized that I'd be living vicariously through them just like so many of the parents I know, and I decided to make my own life interesting instead. Then I found many more reasons I wouldn't want to be a parent and couldn't find a reason TO have children. Having children shouldn't be the default — it should be something you WANT."


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Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.